Case Studies

Moorside Academy Plant Room Upgrades

Moorside Academy Plant Room Upgrades

Moorside High School logo 300Client: Spie
Project Value: £59k
Project Completion: October 2021
Project Manager: Phil Higham


Scope of Work

Moorside High School is a secondary school in Swinton, Manchester, that caters for over 1,000 pupils aged 11-16. Originally opened in 1934, it is now part of the Consilium Academies group. Consilium is a multi-academy Trust working across the North of England. It has nine academy schools located in Yorkshire, the North West, and the North East.

Working alongside Spie, the FM contractor for the site, our role was to upgrade the plant room and introduce redundancy to all of the systems to avoid the risk of failure. A school is forced close if the temperature falls below eight degrees externally and over 25% of the teaching spaces have fallen below 19 degrees. To mitigate this risk, systems are designed with redundancy throughout. If one system should fail, or need to be upgraded, the heating and hot water must still work.

The existing system was served by four gas boilers and a single 3,000-litre calorifier. The coil inside this had burst. To introduce redundancy, we replaced this single calorifier with two individual 1,500-litre buffer vessels, each with Breeze Pack Plate Heat Exchangers from Ormandy Ryecroft.

The four existing boilers are relatively modern and already share the load. As such, they already have redundancy built-in, as each could operate independently and did not need replacing. However, all of the pipework that was beginning to show signs of ageing was replaced.

The final level of redundancy came from installing immersion coils inside the buffer vessels, that would come into action, in the (extremely) unlikely event of both Plate Heat Exchangers failing simultaneously.

It’s a ‘Rolls Royce’ system with three layers of protection designed in to continue providing heat and hot water given almost any eventuality.

Contract management

The project was managed by our small works team and led by Phil Higham. Talking about the project, Phil said

“This was a very interesting project and it shows the importance being placed on education, as few commercial applications will specify systems designed to this level and with three layers of redundancy. The project itself ran very smoothly and to plan, despite working on a live site. Obviously, we had to be very careful to ensure that even with our work in the plant room, there was a continuous supply of heat and hot water, so the school could remain open.”

Moorside High School with new plate heat exchanger by Kimpton


The first of the significant challenges was to ensure we could maintain supply, even though large elements of the plant were being upgraded. This was all programmed in by our team, so managed efficiently.

The plant room itself was an incredibly tight space with little room for movement or space for new plant installation. It again meant we had to commit to and deliver a well structured and tight programme.

Perhaps the biggest challenge was the technical one, to ensure the levels of redundancy required. The entire focus of the project was on lifecycle and redundancy. This ensures we have created a system that will not only deliver (and continue to deliver) but also that when it does come to an upgrade in the future, this can be delivered again, without a break in service and within a live site.

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